MRMIB Meets To Discuss Healthy Families’ Fate in Wake of Budget Cuts
On Thursday, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board held a meeting to discuss the impact of recent budget cuts to Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program, the Sacramento Bee reports.
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) exercised his line-item veto authority to eliminate $50 million from Healthy Families, on top of the $128.6 million already cut from the program in the budget revision.
Earlier this month, MRMIB froze enrollment for Healthy Families because of budgetary constraints (Ferriss, Sacramento Bee, 7/31). About 30,000 children have been put on the wait list so far (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 7/30).
Officials now are considering whether the most recent cuts will force the program to begin dropping enrollees.
First 5 to the Rescue?
The First 5 California Commission, which supports early childhood health and education programs, contributed $16.75 million last year to keep enrollment in Healthy Families open.
The commission currently controls an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue from state tobacco taxes, and is expected to collect an additional $500 million this fiscal year.
Bill Madison, First 5 spokesperson, said the commission is committed to aiding Healthy Families this year but has not determined how much it will contribute.
MRMIB is considering several additional options to restructure Healthy Families. Ideas include:
- Eliminating vision coverage and other benefits;
- Modifying fee schedules for health care provider reimbursement;
- Raising copayments for families; and
- Reducing administrative costs by merging vision and medical benefits (Sacramento Bee, 7/31).